I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rino Sashihara -- Ikuji Nashi Masquerade (意気地なしマスカレード)

I don’t know why or when, but somehow my favourite AKB48 member turned to be Rino Sashihara (指原莉乃), leaving behind beauties like Haruna Kojima (小嶋陽菜) and Yuko Oshima (大島優子). Well, being accurate, Sasshi (さっしー) is now part of a sister group called HKT48, but she was part of AKB48 before a scandal in mid-2012 involving a tabloid statement by an allegedly ex-boyfriend who accused her of being “overly sexually aggressive”. Most important, though, Sasshi still participates in AKB48’s songs and she won last year's (2013) General Elections, which resulted in her being the center girl for the big hit “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” (恋するフォーチュンクッキー). Nowadays, together with Mayu “Mayuyu” Watanabe (渡辺麻友), she’s one of the main girls of a group that’s slowly losing its well known faces (just like Morning Musume [モーニング娘。] years ago).

Besides her activities in AKB48 and HKT48, Sasshi also debuted as a solo artist in early 2012 with the happy-go-lucky aidoru tune “Soredemo Suki da yo” (それでも好きだよ), while “Ikuji Nashi Masquerade”, our featured song, was her second single, released in October 2012 as a split single with a sub-unit called AnRiRe (アンリレ).

At first, I thought “Ikuji Nashi Masquerade” was a Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン) song because of the whole magical girl vibe both in the melody and arrangement, but it’s just a regular song without an anime tie-in. The synths are pretty nice, especially when doppelgänger-ing haunting strings. Besides that, it’s a straightforward pop song with little variation and Sasshi’s tolerable vocals (a live performance of the song is not recommended at all, but if someone have the need, click here).

Sasshi may not be a good singer, which she surely isn’t, but she has a great and funny personality. A couple of months ago, when she participated in one of Masahiro Nakai’s (中居正広) TV shows, a fan of popular group SMAP started talking bad things about her in a social media. In a smart move, Sasshi went to see other messages posted by the girl and saw how happy she was because of several consecutive dates. Based on that, Sasshi personally answered the bad message with a sarcastic “I’m jealous that you get to date every day”. In the end, thanks to the exposure provided by the answer, Sasshi’s fans started annoying the girl until she closed her account in the social media. Not a very aidoru attitude from Sasshi, for sure, and that’s what’s great about her.

“Ikuji Nashi Masquerade” reached #1 on the charts, selling 85,798 copies. Lyrics were written by Yasushi Akimoto (秋元康), while music was composed by Shunsuke Tanaka (田中俊亮). As for the arrangement, it was done by Yuishi “Masa” Nonaka (野中“まさ”雄一).



  1. Hello, Marcos.

    Well, I now know there is one AKB48 member I dare not cross. :) Rino doesn't have the most powerful vocals but I think she does acquit herself pretty well in the video (I've yet to click on her live performance).

    1. Yeah, Rino is not an easy girl. I'd love to watch her on variety shows talking nonsense, but I'm with little time to search for subbed Japanese TV shows right now.

      Apparently, as she entered in HKT48 at the beginning, she helped establish the group acting like a leader and other things. I somewhat doubt that, because I always think of aidoru groups like AKB48 and Morning Musume as a very centralized business, but who knows, right?


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